Police have launched a major new crackdown on serious crime in the run-up to Christmas.
The new campaign, Operation Sorbus targets four areas of serious crime – cash-in-transit robberies, cash machine thefts, drink and drug drivers and ‘Hanoi’ burglaries, where expensive or high-powered vehicles are stolen from homes.
Operation Sorbus, led by the force’s Tactical Operations (TacOps) team, is aimed at detecting and preventing criminals from committing serious offences within the county.
Supt Julian Platt, of Lancashire Police’s operations manager, said: “These crimes affect businesses, the general public and homeowners.
“They can have a devastating impact on their victims and leave them extremely vulnerable.
“Ahead of Christmas these types of offences increase and in turn we are increasing our activity to tackle these crimes.
“We want to help deter and detect this criminal activity and bring these offenders to justice.”
As part of the operation, officers from Lancashire Police’s TacOps team will:
• Carry out daily vehicle stop checks across the county, both in the morning and evening. This includes drink and drug-drive testing, as well as checks on vehicles linked to criminal activity;
• Support the delivery of money to cash machines around the county. With more money in circulation ahead of Christmas, offenders are more likely to target delivery drivers and security vans. Lancashire Police will work with cash firms to prevent any robberies;
• Prevent the theft of ATM machines across the county by visiting businesses and checking CCTV, as well as providing security advice. Vehicles linked to organised crime groups and previous ATM thefts to be intercepted using the auto number plate recognition (ANPR) system;
• Patrol the borders of neighbouring forces to prevent high-powered vehicles stolen from Lancashire addresses travelling into Greater Manchester and Merseyside. Armed response officers and advanced unarmed drivers will be available at strategic locations to stop thieves driving out of the county in stolen cars.
Supt Platt added: “Our message to those planning on carrying out these offences – whether it be cash-in-transit robberies, ATM thefts, thefts of vehicles or drink or drug driving is clear – we will find you and we will make sure, particular for serious offences, you spend this Christmas and many more to come behind bars away from your family and loved ones.
“We understand some of the stop checks might be an inconvenience but we would urge you to be patient while we conduct our operation.
“We are committed to cracking down on criminals who make the lives of people a misery and we will continue to use all the powers available to us to target these criminals, prevent offences and bring those responsible to justice.”
Police are asking the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity in the run up to Christmas by calling Lancashire Police on 101, or to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111. In an emergency always call 999.